Superlatives run short when describing Morocco, an enchanting land full of mystery and wonder. One of Africa's top tourist destinations, welcoming nearly 10 million annual visitors, travelers from all over the globe have worn well-trodden paths through the country's bustling souqs and medieval medinas, its dusty deserts and its snow-capped Atlas Mountains; however, it continues to delight and amaze even second-time visitors, refusing to compromise its inimitable character in the face of mass tourism.
Morocco is in many ways a country which straddles different worlds: at the tip of Africa, just a stone's throw from Europe, Morocco stands not only at the confluence of the Atlantic and the Mediterranean, but also at the crossroads where East meets West, and where traditional ways of living bump up against the clamors of the modern world. This mix is fascinating and alluring, and adventurous travellers who make the effort to experience Morocco in all its confusing glory will be endlessly rewarded.
Dates: M arch 16, 2014 to March 23, 2014
Locations : Marrakech, Atlas Mountains, Majorelle Gardens, Menara Gardens, Todra Gorges, Merzouga Dunes (Erg Chebbi), Merzouga, Tazarine, Agdez, Ouarzazate, Ait Benhaddou, Telouet
Attendees: Minimum of 6, maximum of 10
Fitness Level: Some medium level to higher intensity physical activity involved in this photo tour. Extended camel treks and longer walking excursions are involved in this workshop.
Single Suppliment: $350USD
Deposit: a $750USD deposit is required and is non refundable. 50% of the balance due 120 days before we travel and 50% of the balance due 95 days before we travel.
Photo tour attendee to PRO Photographer ratio : 3-1 to 5-1
Pro Photographer Guides: and Deborah Sandidge
Our goal is to answer all of your questions while we spend our time together in Morocco. But because of the nature of this photography tour, the key learning opportunities will be on:
Apertures & Shutter Speeds : We will discuss the different modes on your camera and the effect your aperture and shutter setting have on your images.
Using Flash to Fill in shadows : Part of our tour will encompass capturing the people in this area. Here you will learn how to use your flash to fill in shadows to produce higher quality images.
Composition : Learn how to improve your photography by applying ‘rules’ of composition while taking memorable photos of ancient ruins.
Metering: While in the various cities we will encounter various high contrast situations within the architecture of the buildings. Proper metering techniques will play an important role in creating the best images you can while in the desert and inside the monuments.
Autofocus & Techniques : Here you learn how to keep the focus on your subject whether taking a landscape image or photographing action!
Night Photography : Spending multiple nights in the desert surrounded by dunes and mountains; the opportunities to photograph long exposure night images will be numerous.
Digital Darkroom: A Photographers Lounge photo tour is the perfect opportunity for any photographer to refine their post processing skills. Deborah and Kevin use the following software that will be used on this workshop. NIK, Photomatix, Adobe Creative Suite, Lightroom
March 16: Arrival and a night photo opportunity at Djemma el Fna .
We will be arriving separately and will be picked upon our arrival and transferred to Raid Elgrably . Upon your arrival at our Raid (hotel) you will have the choice to stay in and relax or come with the group to Djemma el Fna. Souk Ablueh is located to the east in Place Djemaa el-Fna. The Marrakesh souk is a traditional North African market where daily needs can be met for both locals and tourists. There are a number of tourist shops and cafes in the souk. If you prefer to escape the noise and commotion of the souk, walk to the other side of the square. This area is filled with yet more cafes, hotels and gardens. There are some alleyways which lead into the old city; wander along these for even more shopping opportunities.
One final thing of interest to visitors in the Place Djemaa el-Fna is the street theater, or hoopla, which has been around since 1050 AD. From dawn until midnight a variety of performers including astrologers, healers and belly dancers entertain the crowds. Enjoy a refreshing drink and take a seat at a café so that you can watch a dinner theater show of sorts with these eclectic performers as they move around the square or offer services from a booth.
March 17: Souks & Medina Alleyways:
As the sun rises we will be picked up from Raid Elgrably and dropped off at the Medina once again in the morning. Within the labyrinth of the Medina (Old Town) you will find Marrakech's colorful souks (open-air markets). These souks are among Morocco’s most famous and display colorful and richly varied wares for us to capture with our lenses.
After lunch we will embark on an adventure of sights and sounds you will not experience anywhere else in the world... a Moroccan spice market... then returned to our hotel for a light dinner. We will then take the group trip to take some night photos of Morocco
Upon our return to our hotel, Raid Elgrably , we will go through your photos and do wome work in the digital darkroom.
March 18: Marrakech gardens
Our last day in Marrakech, and we are headed to The Majorelle gardens. The garden was made in the 1920s by the French painter Jacques Majorelle, with marble pools, raised pathways, banana trees, groves of bamboo, coconut palms and bougainvilleas. Perhaps unsuprisingly as the garden was designed by a painter, the garden is composed and coloured like a painting.
From there we will head to the Menara Gardens. In the desert-like heat of Morocco, visitors may often find themselves searching for an oasis where they can not only escape the hustle and bustle of daily life, but also the scorching heat of the day. In Marrakech there is one place that is particularly popular with both locals and foreigners – the Menara Gardens . This great attraction provides a refreshing and welcome respite from soaring Moroccan temperatures and dusty streets and simply has to be visited at least once during your travels.
The original Menara Gardens in Morocco were built during the 12th century during the reign of Abd al-Mu’min, an Almohad ruler who saw fit to create a tranquil oasis that could be used by the people to both grow crops and to relax and escape the heat of the day. The gardens featured a collection of smaller gardens that surround a massive artificial lake. The lake is situated at the spot where several canal systems meet and the water caught in it is used to irrigate the surrounding gardens and orchards. The garden was thus a wise use of existing natural resources . The Menara Garden features several orchards of palm trees, olive trees and fruit trees and a number of pruners and pickers can often be seen hard at work or casually enjoying polite conversation. You may also notice that a number of local woman often come here to fetch water from the nearby stream. According to local folklore, the waters of this stream are said to give ‘baraka’ or good luck, so it is popular with several locals.
From there we will be returned to Raid Elgrably , there we can work with everyone on our computers to go through your photos from the first three days in Marrakech in the digital darkroom.
March 19: Marrakech - Ouarzazate - Dades Valley
Meeting at 8h00 a.m with your driver at Raid Elgrably , we will be taken to the 4x4 and depart from Marrakech to Dades valley, through the Tizi- N-Tichka pass (2260m) in the High Atlas Mountains. From Marrakech to Ouarzazate, you will enjoy the scenic road, beautiful landscapes with different colors and the Berber villages along the way. You will have free time here to visit the old Kasbah of Ouarzazate “Taourirt Kasbah” and have lunch. Afterwards, you go further south east to the green Dades valley and the city of roses via the fascinating Skoura palmery. Dinner and overnight in Dades valley at Chez Pierre Hotel chezpierre.org
March 20: Dades - Todra Gorges - Merzouga Dunes (Erg Chebbi)
After breakfast, departure from your hotel in Dades valley at 8 a.m., taking the road of 1000 kasbahs drive around the colorful Berber villages of the Dades valley. 45 km further, you will get to Tineghir with it’s beautiful palm grove and Jewish quarter. You continue to Todra Gorges (Todgha), free time to go on trek
along the canyons of about 300m high, a favorite place for rock climbers.
Afterwards you will leave to Erg Chebbi dunes in Merzouga Sahara desert and you will have time for lunch on the way before you arrive to Erfoud. Then we'll head for the Erg Chebbi sand dunes. We continue deeper into the desert landscape, until the dunes appear in the middle of nowhere.
Here you will encounter a breathtaking sunset camel ride to get to the oasis where the camp is located. We spend the night in the bivouac at Merzouga Sahara dunes under nomadic tents or outside under the shooting stars. You will enjoy our hosts playing drums with the camel drivers and presented with photographic opportunities that not many people will ever experieince. Dinner and overnight in Merzouga Sahara desert camp.
Dinner and Breakfast included
March 21: Merzouga - Tazarine - Agdez - Ouarzazate
Early morning, you will wake up to enjoy the sunrise over the dunes of Erg Chebbi through our lenses, followed by breakfast in the camp before the camel trek back to the hotel at the dune line for a quick shower.
We drive to Rissani, a small Saharan town in southeast of Morocco, here we can stop to visit a fossil
workshop before we continue to Agdez and Draa valley junction where we head north to Ouarzazate after crossing the small volcanic Atlas Mountains. Overnight in Ouarzazate at Riad Dar
Dinner and Breakfast included
March 22: Ouarzazate - Ait Benhaddou - Telouet - Marrakech
After another sunrise shoot and breakfast, we can enjoy a visit of cinema sets & studios located in Ouarzazate which is known as Hollywood of Africa. Afterwards we will visit the universal Heritage Site of
Ait Benhaddou Kasbah as it has been named by UNESCO in 1987. Ait Benhaddou is the World Heritage site that has been used as a backdrop for more than 20 films including “Gladiator” “Indiana Jones” and “Lawrence of Arabia”.
Together we will enjoy a walk to explore the traditional Moroccan style of architecture in which the Kasbahs are built. From there we continue our way to Marrakesh through the High Atlas
Tizi n'Tichka pass. Break for lunch in the middle of the Atlas Mountains. Drop off at your Marrakech Riad which is Riad Elgrably ( http://www.riadelgrably-marrakech.com/ )
March 23: Depart for home at leisure
As you require, you will be transferred to the airport in order to make your international flights home.
All current government Taxes relevant to the itinerary
All accommodation and meals as in itinerary
All activities as in itinerary
All camels & Bedouins necessary for camel trek
4x4 vehicle transportation in desert
Bus transfers to and from locations in Marrakech
Airport pickup and drop off
Two professional English speaking photographic guides
English Speaking local guides.
Meals not mentioned in itinerary
Soft & Alcoholic drinks
Tips and expenses of a personal nature
To find out how to book your trip to Marrakech please contact Kevin or Deborah at the contact information given below:
Phone Number: 519 620 9185
Email Address: [email protected]ounge.com
Email Address: [email protected]